Naturopathic Tip of the Month: Understanding ‘Essential Fatty Acids’
“Good fats” can be separated into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which come from whole grains, green vegetables, nuts/seeds, algae and seafood (esp cold water fish). Polyunsaturated fats can be further broken down into two particularly beneficial forms; omega 3 and omega 6 = ‘essential fatty acids’ or EFA’s. They are considered essential because of their importance in our health yet they cannot be manufactured by the body and thus we must get them from our diets.
Benefits of EFA’s include: reducing one’s risk for heart disease through lowering cholesterol & blood pressure, anti-inflammatory properties useful in conditions such as autoimmune disease, MS and learning disorders, as well as being shown to decrease the incidence of certain types of cancer.
Foods high in EFA’s include: raw unsalted nuts and seeds, avocados, coldwater fish (ie wild salmon), flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. Be sure to contact your Naturopathic Doctor to ensure you are getting enough of these heart friendly fats from a reliable, uncontaminated source.